And Dennis is also fixing my collapsed tunnel. The fabric on it just fell apart; so I got a replacement chute but it is a different make and also made of plastic instead of fabric. It will be heavier for the dogs but it will last longer as I keep them outside 24/7.
And just because I know Johanna is missing her dogs while she is lazing around in Australia; here is a cute photo of Tazz curling himself into the tiniest ball on a couch pillow.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
And Dennis is also fixing my collapsed tunnel. The fabric on it just fell apart; so I got a replacement chute but it is a different make and also made of plastic instead of fabric. It will be heavier for the dogs but it will last longer as I keep them outside 24/7.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Well my 2nd Olympia is over. Hopefully we will return another year! I cannot say this Olympia 2007 was as successful as Olympia 2005 when Zen won; but we had some good moments!
Wednesday was spent bathing and grooming Hex in preparation for her first time at Olympia. We did a little training; 2 or 3 contacts and a few big snakes. It turns out my premonition about snakes (serpentines) was correct and we saw quite a few in the two courses on Thursday.
Off we went on Thursday morning; luckily able to leave after rush hour as our first run wasn't until 1:30 PM. The day started off well as we were able to stop at STARBUCKS on the way! Hurrah! But then the day started to go downhill a bit as Dennis began to complain about not feeling good. Turns out there is a 24 hr stomach bug going around his work and guess which day he decides to come down with it? He was sick all day and even missed work the next day which is rare for Dennis. Lisa was better today; she was in pretty good groom mode although a few pints of beers put her into orbit before the evening performance. She also was sick with a cold. God knows how I will get thru Christmas without myself getting sick!
This Olympia 2007 Final will turn out to be remembered by me as one of the best moments as a Breeder; so that is not too shabby!
The morning performance was Small Pairs. We are paired up randomly; we do not choose our partners. I do think this should be evaluated for the future (here I go again always opening my mouth!) because it can theoretically be dangerous with the hyped up dogs. In the semi-final back in August they also do pairs and there was a scarey dog fight as one team crossed the line to finish and the other was waiting to go for the baton change. Pairs is fine when the dogs and handlers know each other; but in these pairs finals/semifinals the dogs are paired up on the day and do not know one another. Luckily at the Finals at Olympia none of the dogs seemed to have any problems; but it is just a thought for the future.
Hex and I were paired with Sharon Brewster and her adorable little poodle Ruby. They both ran clear and fast and we were in the lead until the last team ran. Up steps the last team, guess who it was?? Yes TEAM OBAY (sable division) with Peggy and Timmy and Nicky and Indy. Now do I root for them or keep my fingers crossed that Sharon and I stay in First? HA!
Well this Olympia is looking quite Deja Vu for me. As with Tuesday we ended up 2nd in the afternoon performance; meaning no trophy! "Darn" and "Yeah OBays!" all at the same time!
We then had a long wait (5 hours) before the next run. I did a little shopping; but everytime I left Hex I got worried and had to go back!God I adore that dog! We also took Team OBay (hey I like saying that!) for a walk to a local park. That was really good for the dogs to get out of the venue to stretch their legs and have a sniff and a pee. I was a little worried as we were counting on Lisa to find the way there as by now Dennis had turned white in the face, had chills and was sick as...well a dog! But Lisa came thru; she is actually very good with directions and we found the park after a nice stroll thru some pretty London side streets.
The evening performace started around 7:30 pm. The walk thru this time seemed even shorter and this was definitely my down fall. I had two plans for the ending sequence and just didn't have time to work thru the 2nd option as the course did not end up being as big on the ground and is looked on the paper and the final sequence was alot tighter than I expected. So again, unfortunately I made an error only FOUR obstacles from the end! Oh well at least in theory I got further than I did with Zen where I made the mistake FIVE obstacles from the end! HA! This is very unlike me; but as they say "There ya go!". Not much else to say about it except that I find it really cute that when you go wrong the British agility people are so sweet and they all say "Hard Luck" to you! I just want to say thanks for that! Although I know it wasn't hard luck but lousy handling! haha!
Anyway enough about me! Although just to say that I was so so very fricken proud of Hex. It is like running a dog on auto-pilot; she just reads the course. Her snakes were so damn cute! Her contacts were perfect and fast and her weaves were awesome! I just love this dog! (did I say that already?) She is only 2 years old and I feel as if I have been running her for years. I can honestly say that if we never did agility again I would be happy just being with this dog. She is my heart and soul dog. (and she likes her drink!)
Now here comes the best Breeder bit! Peggy and Timmy ran first for the shelties. Peggy was so nervous yet it did not show in the ring. After all the start line problems she has had with Timmy over the years; she finally seems to have it sorted! And she had the guts to work it thru at Olympia! I was so proud of her and Timmy strutting their stuff! Timmy put in a nice fast clear; losing time only on his contacts. I think Peggy was so happy to have crossed that finish line that I wonder if she realized how good he had done? He went into 1st place and held that up until Nicky and Indy ran. Indy the pocket rocket is probably one of the smallest dogs in this competition. (The smallest by far would have been Dave and teensy poodle Libby who unfortunately had to pull out because Libby was in season! Now that was a damn shame!) But The Pocket Rocket never lets his size stop him and Nicky and Indy went for it! A little hestitation at the end but it still put him into 1st place! It would have been nice if the competition could have ended at that point with Indy in FIRST and Timmy in Second but alas we still had a fast poodle left to go! Chelsea never looks that fast but Dawn is a great handler and Chelsea is so smooth. The running contacts and the long legs of Chelsea make her a great dog for this venue; they clearly won by full second. Really cool run!
So there ya have it. Another Olympia done for us.
Now we just have to wait and hear how the big dogs do today and Saturday. Fingers crossed for everyone!!
Here is the OBay videos....
First is the OBay Shelties running in pairs.
Second is the three OBay Shelties in their Finals runs.
If you want to see all the dogs in the finals check out: Olympia small pairs on Youtube.
If you want to see all the small dogs in the finals check out: Olympia Small Agility Final
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The Olympia hall is beautiful with the glass roof. It always looks so festive and really gets you in the Christmas mood! Here is a photo of the arena loaded with horse jumps. For us dog agility people the ring is TOO big; for the horse people it is probably too small. The horses are just gorgeous.
In reality this is a HORSE SHOW! And it is very spectator oriented. So although it is THE major agility final of the year; it doesn't always have that "agility" feel about it. It is a little tense as we have only 2 minutes to walk the course with the dogs in the arena with us and then run immediately. Luckily Kate put up some flowing sensible courses that didn't require too much mental anguish! The noise is deafening down in the arena and the announcers get the crowds worked up. When the horses are doing there things (jumping and dressage ect) you can hear a pin drop. But when the dogs start the agility; the announcers go into overdrive. It is not conducive to a calm focused run! It is exciting though! The huge ring and the crowds do get you wound up a bit! I was really proud of Zen this year; she has matured since we were first at Olympia two years ago when she was only just 2 years old! She seemed to cope better and was able to relax.
Chi took the atmosphere into his stride. He looked great and no one commented on his funny hair cut. To see him run you wouldn't know he just had two surgeries and hasn't run agility in weeks!
So anyway this is how it went.....
Here is a photo of Course walking in the afternoon. You may notice they had a clown on the course with a fake dog. In addition the announcer was walking about describing the course to the crowds. So an announcer, clown with fake dog, ring party still setting the course and us (in red) walking the course all in two minutes! I just kept moving around the announcer and tuned him out totally! At one point I thought about asking him to get the heck out of the way but I thought that might have been frowned upon! ha!
This is how they bring us in right behind the truck carrying the equipment. We then stand for a few minutes in the arena while they get the stuff off the two trucks. The equipment is cute; lots of Christmas themed stuff. And they use a wall jump which we don't see very often and put tinsel on top of the weave poles! Also the jumps are extra big for audience appeal....
I found the hardest thing was walking the course in the two minutes! I usually walk, as in NOT RUN, a course a few times before actually running it in speed. There was no time for this and you had to RUN around once or maybe twice and that was it. I started running on to the course walk and my legs completely stopped working and I felt really winded, my throat went totally dry and I felt like I was running in quicksand! Not a great start! Luckily I was running last out of the ten. Poor Lisa was running first! As usual I was the last person out on the course and had to dash to get Zen from poor Sonia who was being shuffled off the course with the rest of the grooms. As Sonia was leaving she thought she spotted Lisa's shoelace untied; so she was yelling at her and then I was yelling at Lisa as she was walking to the line (you will see Lisa look back puzzled on the video!). HAHA! Actually it wasn't untied but she just has very long laces!
They are very strict about how they take you into the arena and how your grooms hold the dogs ect. You follow the premier cart with equipment in and the little workers get right to work and set the course up in about 2 minutes! Amazing stuff. As they are setting it you have to get right in and walk it. In the morning run (grand prix) it wasn't so bad because the first run was actually BEFORE the spectators had arrived. So there wasn't the crowds to try and please! You will notice in the photos and videos that during the jumping run the arena was empty. The silence was lovely!
The first jumping run was nice and smooth for Zen and Chi. Chi went first out of all the dogs and put in a phenomenal run; he wanted to show that he was meant to be there! Lisa felt that she lost connection towards the end as she got slightly lost but you can hardly see any errors. I did not expect either dog to do anything in the jumping as they are competing against much larger border collies and the stride length on some of the collies is incredible. In such a big arena they would eat up the ground compared to Zen and Chi. Honestly I originally thought the course was too easy and that we would just put in a steady clear compared to the others; I had been hoping for difficult courses. But it is OLYMPIA and the courses have to be tailored for the fact that there are spectators and there is a time constraint. BUT even with all that; Zen and Chi had no trouble keeping up their speed compared to the others! Wow! Zen actually slipped in the tunnel and I remember thinking "Shit she is never coming out of there!" whereas on the video you can hardly tell! It is amazing what we can notice while we are running.
Well I am very proud that Zen got 2nd in the jumping. Although that doesn't sound as exciting as winning it; it gave me a boost that she can still run with the big dogs even on a big course! Unfortunately for us, in this run they only gave trophies to the first place dog! Bummer!
We did not have a long wait until our second run; probably just under 2 hours. So just a little time to look around the shopping stalls. I didn't actually buy anything! Must try harder on Thursday!
The second run was the agility run and this was the one I really wanted to win. But alas things don't always go to plan! Zen was running well but had one wide turn at the top of the course. This was on my mind (yes I know it shouldn't have been!) as we came into the last jumping sequence. Plus the fact that the announcer was really whipping up the crowds (come on girls and boys blah blah blah almost at the end good times blah blah)! I just lost it after the collapsed tunnel at a very easy part....all I needed to do was step toward the damn jump! Instead I pulled away hoping to get a tighter turn to the long jump and Zen came out of the chute seeing me more that way. She is so honest that she came right along with me. Oh well, coulda woulda shouda! Now we have all winter to reinforce those contacts.
Chi and Lisa went after us. My God he was putting in a stonking run! A darn pole down ruined their chances but hey he looked fantastic! Chi actually had the fastest time out of all the dogs! Chi really enjoyed the atmosphere! Lisa will be resting Chi now for the next month or so; just working on his rehab and getting him fighting fit; but I am glad he had the chance to shine for the day!
Overall a good day; although maybe not the most successful agility-wise. I do have to remember that Zen did get a respectable 2nd even if she didn't get a trophy for it!
And we got to see Father Christmas!
And so here is the video!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Christmas is coming and it will be low key compared to last year when we had two litters of puppies here to celebrate with. How time flies! Right now we are waiting to see if Hob-b is pregnant but it is way too early to tell. I promise I will let everyone know as soon as I do!
The good news is that it looks like Chi will be OK to compete at Olympia! He looks pretty funny as his neck is shaved but he seems fit and happy to run. Lisa is, of course, worried about him but I think Chi is telling her he wants to RUN RUN RUN! The surgeon was happy that he got all the tumour out with good margins; so now we just watch to see that nothing starts to grow back. With a little luck and help from above; Chi will be around for many more Olympias! Thank you to everyone who sent their prayers and good wishes for Chi; it meant alot.
On the other hand Zen still has NOT come into season! So much for my thinking that she wasn't going to Olympia and would be preggers by now; it seems like she has other plans and wants to defend her Olympia winner title! So fingers crossed for brother and sister team Chi and Zen to strut their stuff at Olympia 2007 on Tuesday!
We did some training yesterday at Premier where we rented their sand school along with some friends who will also be competing at Olympia. Everyone put their heads together and set up some wicked mean courses. I was running like shit! The sand was really soft and we set up BIG courses that involved lots of running. At the best of times I run like a girl and this was even worse; I was huffing and puffing! I did feel better when the two fit men in the group were having the same problem! HA! Luckily Zen and Hex saved me and they seemed to handle the courses well. So watch out for Tig, Dot, Kite, Shy, Minx, Timmy, Chi, Zen and Hex this week at Olympia! Let's hope we all have something special to celebrate!
Today I took Zen and Hex to a practice match. It was a really good opportunity to work their contacts and train. Thank to Leah for organizing the match and let me run each dog four times over the agility course! What was really good was that both girls decided they could pretend it was already Olympia and do some fantastic running contacts. Uhhhh....no girls not yet! So they start the course, hit the first A-frame and run the contact (well not really run as much as stop and self-release). I was able to stop them, pick them up and carry them out of the ring. I had to not laugh at the look on their little faces! A few minutes later we went back in the ring and started again and, luckily, they had spot-on perfect fast contacts! Hurrah! So I only had to carry them each out of one run and the other three were perfect. This bodes well for Olympia!
The practice match was in aid of a rescue organization in Wales called
MANY TEARS RESCUE
so it was a bonus not only to be able to run agility but to also help out rescue. I did my part and drank quite a few mulled wines and ate lots of cake so that I could donate some extra money!
LONG ISLAND SHELTIE RESCUE
Thursday, December 06, 2007
PS She didn't just quit us; she is no longer petsitting (just in case you thought she quit the mad sheltie house because it was too noisy!) HAHA!
In other news; Hob-b and Tazz did their stuff and now we keep fingers crossed for pups due 1st of Feb 2008!
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I needed that after all the worry we have had lately with my poor little man Chi. Chi had his surgery today and you can follow his progress on Chi's Blog.
Anyway I had Dennis video a few of the things I have been playing around with in training. Zen and Hex were taught both "the elephant trick" and "put your toys away" as pups. As you can see they were a little rusty! HA!
I was starting to try to teach Hex to lift up her back foot on command as I have seen Sylvia Trkman teach her dogs; but was having no luck. Then I thought I would try to teach the dogs to back up onto the washing up box but again was struggling. So we went back to something we know: LEFT and RIGHT. The twist being having them do their lefts and rights on the box. Actually it was a really cool idea as then they had to stay in one spot instead of bouncing around as they usually do. I did not use any luring or body language; Zen and Hex do know their left and rights pretty well. You can see how Zen especially tries to outsmart me and I have to try and mix up my commands so that she doesn't read my mind! Also I used a bigger box for Zen as she was sliding all over the washing up bowl. You will notice that a few times Hex just turned her head left or right instead of actually spinning. This was because although she knew what I wanted she felt as if she couldn't do the entire spin without falling! It was so interesting for me to watch the video back and see how hard she tries. What is really funny in watching the video is seeing the difference in general speed and noise between Zen and Hex. Zen always looks as if she is on speed!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In the US when a dog finishes their AKC Agility Championship (also called a MACH) the owner and dog get to keep the last bar on the course. They get the bar signed by all their friends and admirers and have a nice memento to keep to remember their special day. Usually their friends have cake and drinks and pressies and banners ready for that moment (which sometimes they can carry around for weeks just in case the dog finishes that 2oth QQ!)
Ann and Spooner finished their MACH at the Springfield Massachusetts Thanksgiving weekend agility show. It is a cool show; one that I loved going to as it was indoors, warm and on a dirt surface for the dogs. I met Ann and Spooner at Clean Run Camp two years ago. Spooner was just a young dog at the time but you could see such good things in store for the two of them! I was so impressed by Spooner and his brother Jif that I decided then and there to breed to Jif one day.
Anyway, congratulations to a great team! Now go get that ADCH (Usdaa agility championship)
Another funny thing is that in the USA a team can get a MACH 2,3,4...ad infinitum. Gets kinda weird as they celebrate each MACH all over again! I can see the first MACH as special but after that I think it is overkill!
and PS. when Zen finished her Agility Championship I didn't get any good pressies; so I want some good ones ready for when Hex finishes next year! And Champagne and cake and music. Maybe I should bring my own cheering section...do you think I can rent a few friends? hehe
Monday, November 26, 2007
Woo-hoo! Thanks Zen for the most fantastic ride. You rock baby!
And check this out; this is really funny. I AM A BLOOPER!
Smooth Moves 2006 WC Video clips
Onto breeding news: Hob-b is now on day eight of her season. Hob-b and Tazz started flirting a bit yesterday. They are playing ever so cute and they don't usually play. Tazz does his version of being a stud dog....he rolls on his back and shows his bits to Hob-b. Oh Tazz...... ha!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The trophies were really nice and are engraved with my name and with Hex's full KC name. That is a really nice touch to have an engraved personalized crystal trophy. My sweet Hex!
The ride wasn't too bad and thankfully Sarah drove. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive but it seemed to go pretty fast. I was disappointed that Sarah did not bring the handsome Tig along so she better take a photo of Tig with his trophy and post on her blog! Hex was not impressed as since I put on her special harness she thought it was AGILITY TIME! HA!
It has been a very surreal week finding out that Chi had a lump and then getting the unexpected diagnosis of Fibrosarcoma. I refuse to believe that Chi will do nothing but recover fully and be around for many more years. Besides he needs to make me a nice little sable girl with Hob-b so he better stay healthy for a long time!
I was looking at puppy photos as that is where my mind is going to be focused on this week with Hob-b and Tazz. I found this adorable photo of five week old Chi who just looks like a miniature version of his grown up self!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Just to keep this dog related; one of the tour guides walked around with her Viszla. The Viszla was extremely well behaved, wore a heavy dog coat against the cold and walked off-leash thru the whole city. Yeah my kind of place!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Each morning I check both girls and guess what I found this morning? Hob-b is in season! Oh well best laid plans and all that. Looks like Hob-b wants to be the first to use the whelping box this time!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday we set up this course in the backgarden. It was The USDAA Grand Prix Dog Agility Final from the USDAA champs in Arizona. Again it was a good one to set up because I got to see some videos of the course being run and that helps in seeing exactly where the flow of the course is and where the challenges are. You can see it being run on Agility Vision; here are the winners from each height and here is a comparison of the top 4 in the 22" height class
We modified it slightly as I don't think I had a big enough area; but overall it looked good. The biggest challenge of collapsed tunnel-jump-tunnel was not exactly as it was on the original course because no matter how we tried we could not handle it as some of the other handlers did. I think the tunnel was probably over further than we could do.
I did not think to video all of us running but should have. Will remember next time! All the dogs did really well on it. We did remember to video Zen running for Nancy, Karen and myself. The funny thing is that she looks no different running for anyone else! Nancy is a girl after my own heart and wouldn't let Zen get away with running her A-frame! HA! Enjoy the video but blame Lisa for the barking Cheeky Chi in the background. Some people and their barking shelties...sheesh!
After we ran that course we switched it around a bit to run something different. We did a similar opening sequence but then went from the collapsed tunnel-jump to the opposite end of #8 and then back of #15 to the Aframe to the weaves. Now the A-Frame to the weaves was the most challenging part so it was really good practice for everyone. From the weaves to the dog walk and then to the back of #15 with a push thru to #16 and then finish as normal. Some good things to work on!
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
We have seven shelties right now as we still have Tazz visiting; he is anxiously awaiting for some girls to come in season. And we have Lucky visiting for a few days while Sonia and Bob have a much deserved weekend away to relax. Seven shedding shelties is a bit too much to have and my hoover is working overtime. I would never want to go back to seven dogs permanently and luckily Dennis is away this week!
Lucky has been a real gentleman. The funny thing is that, like Hob-b, he hates when the black girls (Zen and Hex) get into their play fighting frenzies. Lucky and Hob-b will then leap into my lap for protection and watch the action from a safe vantage point. Hob-b is easy as she is so small; but having a Lucky-sized sheltie leaping on your head can be dangerous! I love when Zen and Hex play fight as it is so reminiscent of when Joy and Pax would play together.
Training wise I have just been doing small bits with Hex to start getting her ready for Olympia. I have not been doing much running stuff as my ankle/foot still is not 100%; so I have been concentrating on sending to contacts away from me and on jump chute work. The jump chute work is based mainly on Susan Clothier Natural Jumping Method. I have started this method in the past but never worked my way thru the entire thing. So we are giving it a shot this winter. So far we are just finishing up the rhythms and impulsion chapters and are ready to move to the Problem solving chapter. I will post on any progress! If any of my blog readers have any jump training suggestions; please feel free to post! I only really know of two methods; Susan Clothier and Susan Salo. I have never donne Susan Salo's methods and would love to hear pros and cons.
We are headed off to Discover Dogs this weekend to groom for Lisa and Chi. Yeah finally! Zen was invited but I turned it down as I wasn't sure if she would be in season yet and she really doesn't need the practice. I do wish I had been invited with Hex as it would have been a good warmup for Olympia. Instead I will go as a perfect groom and wait hand and foot on Lisa and Chi. HA! And maybe check out the shopping opportunities...
Sunday, November 04, 2007
As I think about the possibility of an upcoming litter with Zen; as always I worry about finding the perfect home for each puppy. A home that will love the pup no matter what; love it for being A SHELTIE with all their little sheltie quirks along with their sheltie specialness.
Halo (O'Bay Say A Little Prayer) is one of Jordan pups. Halo was my dog until around 6 months old when we decided we were moving to England. It was very hard to make the decision to NOT bring Halo with me; one decision that I regretted for a long time. But things always work out for a reason and I placed Halo in a home with someone I felt very comfortable with and someone who has shelties. I always knew Halo had a wonderful home with Karen; but recently that fact has become even more clear.
Halo was just recently diagnosed with cancer. Grade 2 Mast Cell cancer. Karen and Halo are fighting this with all their might and I am so grateful that Halo is in Karen's hands. Halo is undergoing 4-6 weeks of radiation to her leg and the prognosis is good for a full recovery. How blessed am I that Halo has such a dedicated owner? Very.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Yesterday was the pups 1st birthday! Happy Birthday Kizzy, Whizz, Oz and Zoe! I wish there was a 5th name in there; I know we all miss little Zeus...
The very first O'Bay litter was born back in 1992. When they turned one year old we had a fantastic birthday party for them. I have to find the photos one time when I am back in NY because back in those olden days we only had print photos and no digital! Anyway all the dogs were well behaved. Of course, they would be as they were sable!
When we had the first OBay litter in the UK (notice the lack of apostrophe as the UK Kennel Club wouldn't allow me to keep a silly apostrophe in my Kennel name!) I decided to do another birthday party. It was a great idea in theory and I do think everyone enjoyed it except the neighbors! God that was a noisy bunch!
Here is True with her 6 babies! (and one child stuck in the middle!)
We had this adorable agility cake made! It looked better than it tasted!
This year so much was going on beforehand that I just could not get myself organized. I promise to all the owners and pups that pressies will be forthcoming! You may just have to wait a few weeks as they are on order and I am counting on someone in Denmark to help me! (Hi Johanna!)
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Sunday was devoted to teams made up of 4 dogs. Each dog had 2 runs each. We didn't run as a team (ie: one after another) but ran individually and then they calculated the results at the end. The only other run I would have with Zen was a Genesis Final held at the end of the day. It was for the top 3 placed dogs from the agility run the day before.
Our team was made up of four Tri shelties. Our team-mate Roger came up with our name "LIBERO" which I thought sounded pretty cool. It actually takes the first two letters of each of our names! LI (Lisa) BE (Bernadette) and RO (Roger)! Unfortunately we forgot to get a photo of our team! That was silly and I blame Lisa as all weekend she kept saying "I want to take this photo for my blog...." over and over. And then when it counted......sigh.
Unfortunately none of us did spectacularly well in the team runs! On paper we had an AWESOME team but it was not meant to be! I think we ended up 12th overall out of 27 teams. I will post the jumping course; but can't seem to find the agility course map. The jumping was the only run that Hex went clear in all weekend! It wasn't exactly a pretty run; the ending got me when I tried a front cross between 15 and 16 to try and run the inside of the ending curve of jumps. With both dogs I wasn't able to get there and crossed really badly so the ending was certainly not pretty and we lost quite a bit of time. Hex ended up in 6th place in that run over the 120 odd small and mediums combined.
I liked this photo that Lisa took of Hex jumping over the wall! Well maybe she hit the button too soon. Hehe Actually I like it because it showed her turning on the flat between # 9 and #10. You needed to do this otherwise the dogs assumed they were turning left after the wall. You also couldn't run 9 and 10 with the dog on the left unless you were super fast!
And, believe it or not, this was Zen's look-a-like! When this dog ran she looked so much like Zen in both colouring and in body type. I also like this photo because it showed how so many dogs thought they were turning left after the wall!
After all the team runs were over; they set a jumping course for the Genesis Final. It was kind of strange that they set up a jumping final but choose the top dogs from the Agility class, but hey who am I to complain about an extra run!
Zen ran last out of the 10 medium dogs running in the final. I would LOVE to say that we won it; but sadly we had the typical jumping nightmare happen....the last bar dropped! SHIT! I blame the judge as he was clapping before we cleared the last jump and I refuse to hear anything different! HAHA! When all goes wrong; blame someone else!
The funniest part to me was how devastated Dennis was! I was like "Oh well" no big deal but he was gutted! I think he is getting spoiled with Zen winning too much!
I will try and post the Genesis final course map and video later. Then you can all cry along with Dennis when you see that last bar fall! And yes yes she would have won it by over .5 seconds! But Woulda coulda shoulda will get us nowhere!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The venue was a nice indoor riding arena. It was a nice place; good footing for the dogs and an nice area to sit and watch. There was only one problem...or should I say there were many noisy little problems called Shelties! HAHA!
We kept our dogs in the car where they could relax and sleep and only take them into the venue when they are ready to run. The Europeans, on the other hand, are used to brining crates and puppy pens into the venues and keep the dogs in the venue all day. Uhhhhh, you know shelties bark? Well these shelties barked ALL day long! You could not really hold a conversation and you definitely could not hear any announcements! This was basically my only complaint about the entire tournament. Other than that it was great fun and very relaxing. A nice touch was the tee-shirt they gave out to every competitor.
For lunch (yes food is very important to me!) they had a tent set up outside with guys barbequing local sausages and hamburgers and super pork cutlets. In addition they had a large pot of mulled wine which is called Gluhwein. Yummy!
We only had two runs per dog each day. I had to get myself psyched up to run as I was feeling a bit too relaxed! After the World Champs; this seemed like...well...fun! hahaha!
They did have Grade one, two and three classes at this show although most of the competitors were in Grade 3. This was the Grade 3 agility course as posted on their website but I think there were a few tweaks to the course. as it didn't quite run like this. Zen did her usual saunter around the course and won it by 1.4 seconds! Hex and Chi had the exact same problem which caused their eliminations! Chi and Lisa ran before Hex and I so you WOULD think I learned from their mistake? No, I went and did the exact same thing and got Hex eliminated! Basically instead of going up the see-saw they both took the back of the wall jump #7. Actually it is funny, I think Hex and Chi run more alike than Zen does.
Our second run was Grade 3 jumping. Again the course ran a little different than this course shows but it will give you an idea. Zen ran clear and ended up in second behind a little girl and her sheltie by 6/100th of a second.
I am so proud of Zen. I wish we could have done this at the Worlds; but she was just showing me that she has it in her! She won a lovely glass trophy for her first place in agility. And what did she win for her 2nd in jumping....a yellow ball. Yes, we drove to Luxembourg to win a yellow dog ball! Zen was happy! We have popped up with start line issues again with Zen; I think this was compounded by the noise and excitement. Some work for the winter!
Here is the video of Zen's two runs on Saturday. Dennis was being sentimental and picked the song!
As for Hex and Chi...again in the jumping they decided to be very much alike and drop a bar! Actually the jumps were so different than what we are used to; the bars are very light and the jump cups virtually non-existant. So basically the bars are just resting on the jump cups which make them very easy to knock over. GIVE ME fat Premier Jump bars and cups anyday! Even with the knocked bars I was impressed with both Chi and Hex. Without the knocked bars, Chi would have been the fastest Medium and Hex would have been the fastest small! Actually little Hex was faster than both Zen AND Chi! You coulda knocked me over with a feather; my slow girl keeps surprising me! I think we will work on some jumping excersizes for Hex as her winter project; she need to learn to keep the bars up even when I get in her way!
The other difference in the equipment was in the contact obstacles and the weave poles. The Contacts were really cool! They were made from an aluminum frame and the surface is not sand coated wood but is a rubberized coating. It felt really soft and cushy for the dogs and you didn't hear them scratching or scrabbling. I think they enjoyed the footing. The weave poles are wider apart so the dogs seem to go thru easier with less strain. The equipment was made by Smart-99.
After going to bed with a full belly on Thursday night, we awoke to our free breakfast at the hotel. We figured it would just be bread and cold meat but were pleasantly surprised by fantastic toasted bread, homemade jams, meat, cheese and eggs cooked to order! They even filled our Thermos with free coffee for our day out. Dennis was enamored with this one particular homemade jam. It turned out to be quince jam and the lady went into a discussion about quince jam and the different types of quince. I don't know if Dennis understood but he was sure to get that SAME jar of jam each morning!
We drove into Luxembourg City and spent the day there. We went on a local walking tour which is something I like to do in new cities. It is nice to have someone direct you around and explain details of things that you would normally just bypass. This tour was VERY thorough and lasted 3 hours! It took longer because the tour guide had to say everything twice. Once in German for the Germans and Dutch and second in English for us and one French bloke. It turns out that Luxembourg has quite an interesting city. Out of everything what sticks in my head the most? The fact that the city is free from PIGEON POOP as they feed the pigeons little pellets that make them sterile! So all their statues and nice fountains are clean!
By the end of the tour we were very cold and very hungry (what else is new?). We took the dogs for a walk in the city park and then drove out to the show venue to meet Han and Adele and Zen's baby Whizz. Han and Adele drove their little caravan from The Netherlands and were camping at the venue. We are very spoiled in the UK with our camping areas! The camping for the caravans and Motorhomes was tiny and they squeezed the caravans so tightly together. There would be no way you could get out in an emergency!
We had a lovely dinner with Han and Adele. I am glad we took the time to go out the first night! We went to a restaurant that was also a Beer Brewery and Dennis had to buy some beer to take home. I had a fantastic dinner which was called a "fondue". But really it was beef cut into cubes that you dip into a hot vat of oil to cook yourself. Ohhhhh is was so good; the steak just melted in my mouth! Dennis had the cold meat specialty platter and was a happy boy. Lisa had.....well....I was told not to say what she ate, so you have to ask her!
It was so nice to speak with Han and Adele. Adele is so passionate about her training and I am so excited to see how she gets on with little Whizz in the future. If Whizz is as fast as Chilka I know they will do great!
Little did I know that anymore conversation would be very difficult at the sheltie show......more about that later! bark bark bark bark
The dogs could spread out as there was only three of them.
We arrived at our hotel (HOTEL DIRENDALL)by 3pm and settled in. Our first impression of the hotel was good; although the hotel lady came out to "see" the dogs. She told us that they don't always allow dogs as they have had problems in the past. She told us of one person brought three large smelly dogs and left them in the hotel room all day to stink up the room! And another let their dogs bark and annoy the other guests. It is a shame that people can't take more care. We are so extra careful when we bring our dogs to hotels so that we leave a good impression. This hotel was family run; it was basic yet clean and had a nice atmosphere unlike another hotel in another country that I would hate to mention again (The Shining Hotel!)
Lisa did a great job in finding this hotel. I wasn't thrilled with the hotels the show secretary recommended because they were all within town centres and there did not seem to be good places to walk the dogs. So Lisa did some internet surfing and found this hotel. It was only 20 minutes to the show site; yet it was in a nicely tucked away location. Quiet and peaceful with loads of walking for the dogs. It was surrounded by forest and with the trees changing colours it was so beautiful! After getting settled in the hotel we headed out into the forest to walk the dogs and explore. Uhhh, no one thought to ask for a map......
We went out and were blown away by the colours of the trees and the great trails to walk. They dogs had an absolute ball and barked their fool heads off for the first 10 minutes! Freedom! We walked and walked and walked and thought we were headed on a circular path.....NOT! So after about 1 1/2 hours had to backtrack to find our way out since it was getting dark and cold and my ankle was complaining. We were wondering if they would send out a search party if we never made it back!
Where are we?
After getting cleaned up we went out in search for a restaurant as we were famished after that walk! The first place we went to had a sign out about a PRI FIX menu for 25 Euro. So we went in and got a table. It turned out that the Price fix was only for lunch (well we really can't read french that well!) and the dinners were WAY expensive. So after a few minutes of "Hmmm what should we do?" we embarrassingly left the restaurant. Especially embarrassing as we were the only guests there. Ha!
Luckily just down the road we found this amazing restaurant called Brideler Stuff. It had traditional Luxembourgy food. Yum YUM and I am now very fat again! The Luxembourgy are big on sausages and cold meats and pork. Really really tasty food! Although I was told I shouldn't be telling the truth (can you believe someone wants to CENSOR my blog??); here is the proof that SOMEONE ate.......COW HEAD! Even the waiter asked her twice "Are you sure" when she asked for this dish! In her defense she did ask if there would be eyes staring at her and he said "No, there would be no eyes on the plate".
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Here is the Dutch way of handling the tunnel.......Brilliant! Well done to Roger for being such a good sport with his dog!